Jasmine Baba looks at the pressure footballer’s face in society.
On the night of September 24th, emergency services were called to Derby Road, Allestree after a Range Rover crashed into a lamppost and another vehicle was also involved. Two people were arrested on the scene for alleged drink driving.
What transpired is to be a headache for Derby County Football club and football in society. Now, understandably, details of this night are yet to come out, but what we do know is that both Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett have been charged with drink driving. The incident involved club captain Richard Keogh, whose season is now over because of an ACL injury sustained in the crash. Tom Huddlestone’s Snapchat story, which surfaced after the incident, appears to show Bennett being filmed vomiting in a pub toilet. Huddlestone was not made captain for Derby’s 3-2 win over Birmingham.
A statement from the club last week read: “We cannot, and do not, condone the actions of a small group of players on Tuesday evening. They should have known when to stop and also ignored the opportunity to be driven home using cars laid on by the club, and chose to stay out.”
That it appears the players involved opted to keep drinking after the team’s bonding day without thinking of the consequences shows immaturity.
We can’t go through any of the footballers’ minds when they choose to drink alcohol and get drunk. They’re human too. Lawrence lost his mother recently and was only 25 when it happened. A terrible personal tragedy would have been made even worse with the expectation that comes with being a role model and in the public eye constantly. Do we put too much pressure on our footballers? Do we, as a society, make them role models when they don’t deserve to be?
The answer is more yes than no. Being well known does not mean they should uphold a certain behaviour to the public. However, after being on Twitter when the news broke out, there was one tweet that stuck with me in particular. It was something along the lines of “we’ve all done it, and it’ll be used to blame these three players.” We most definitely all haven’t done it. Using your favourite footballers to condone illegal behaviour is dangerous.
We have a great crop of footballers when it comes to activism. Hector Bellerin is a vegan and uses his social media to talk about about climate change. Raheem Sterling has been a much championed spokesperson on racism. There is also stories of countless Women’s Super League players who have gone through bullying and homelessness and overcome those issues. Another recent case of drink-driving happened in August last year when 31-year-old Hugo Lloris, the goalkeeper and captain of Tottenham, was arrested after dangerously driving in London.
He was found guilty, banned from driving for 20 months and fined barely a third of his week’s wage. Other players guilty of similar offences include Wayne Rooney and Roberto Firmino, however their cases are mostly forgotten about. Those Derby players involved will be in the spotlight for a while, however in the meantime isn’t it worth us reflecting what we part we play in shaping our footballers as role-models?
Follow Jasmine on Twitter @_BabsJ